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Rock Around the World
Newspaper Articles - Issue 9

Manhattan Madness
by Niall Krumpett

THE KRUMPETT TOP TWENTY FOR 1976
(The best albums of the year)

1 . "A Trick of The Tail" - Genesis
2. "Interview" - Gentle Giant
3. "Viva Roxy Music" - Roxy Music
4. "Fish Out of Water" - Chris Squire
5. "La Booga Rooga" - Andy Faithweather - Low
6. "Still Life" - Van Der Graaf Generator
7. " 'L' " - Steve Hillage
8. "A Young Person's Guide to King Crimson" - King Crimson
9. "Red Card" - Streetwalkers
10. "Presence" - Led Zeppelin
11. "Below The Belt" - Boxer
12. "World Record" - Van Der Graaf Generator
13. "Olias of Sunhillow" - Jon Anderson
14. "SAHB Stories" - Sensational Alex Harvey Band
15. "Stupidity" - Dr. Feelgood
16. "Another Live" - Todd Rundgren
17. "Oceans Away" - Phillip Goodhand-Tait
18. "3:47 EST" - Klaatu
19. "Heat Treatment" - Graham Parker & The Rumour
20. "Deep Cuts" - The Strawbs

THE TOP GIGS FOR 1976

GENESIS - 3 Shows at The Beacon, New York
STREETWALKERS - Bottom Line, New York
DR. FEELGOOD - Hammersmith Odeon, London
GENTLE GIANT - Central Park, New York
VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR - The Beacon, New York
THIN LIZZY - Musikhalle, Hamburg Germany

BEST NEWCOMER ACT FOR 1976

Graham Parker & The Rumour

BEST STAGE BAND FOR 1976

Genesis

HEARTTHROB AWART, 1976

Annie Wilson of Heart

21st ANNUAL BEE GEES `CARRY ON' AWARD

Alex Harvey

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

"It's Yourself" - Genesis

GOLDEN GLOVES AWARD

Boxer

The multifaceted, ever-altering enigma which calls itself Sparks recently entertained a decent-sized crowd at The 'Line. The newest 1976 version led by the ex-Sears catalogue models, The Maels are a powerful entity and a much-improved version from that which supported Mott last year at Avery Fisher Hall. Although unannounced on stage, this band sports Sal Maida on bass (ex-Milk'n'Cookies and Roxy Music) which lends a nice, meaty, booming bass to the proceedings. Sparks' music is basically heavy and powerful ditties with emphasis on ringing guitars, shoving Hitler-like Ron on keyboards into the background. The recently regenerated and revamped Sparks hit us with a lot of new tunes and scored with "Big Boy" and "I Bought The Mississippi River". ("White Women" should be struck from the set). However, it was the older material, especially from the "Kimono My House" album which brought down the rafters: "Equator", "Amateur Hour", "Something For The Girl With Everything", "Talent Is An Asset", "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us" and "I Like Girls" were all performed with a zealous verve as if they were spanking new. The top moments of the night came during "Everybody's Stupid", where Ron's priceless deadpan "Oh Yeah"'s were worth the cost of admission -- he actually came out from behind his piano! Also, on the last tune, "Big Boy", Ron again, this time terribly frustrated from the lack of attention, bashed his piano bench and then raced over table tops flailing a broken leg or two, much to the gleeful and confused delight of the women up front. Perhaps it was unfamiliarity of the new material, the weird chauvinistic lyrics or the shock of seeing Sparks in a small venue, but I came away pondering any loopholes in this performance -- turned out to be a chemical reaction within this viewer . . . can't wait `til their promised return. A great show! Go see them!

What Ron Delsener billed as an "R&B Spectacular" thankfully turned out to be just that as Graham Parker & The Rumour and Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes opened for British vocalist Robert Palmer. It was and exciting bill which filled The Palladium and it is most interesting to note that neither of the bands have experienced any single success and got on this bill solely via FM airplay (does this signify a resurgence in R&B? -- sho'nuff!). Parker was faced with a half house as opener; however, The Rumour came up with a stellar performance which caused many a foot to tap and head to sway. Southside Johnny & his 10-piece entourage were faultless in their exciting stint. Their sound was impeccably balanced. SSJ is the kind of outfit you'd normally find in a sleazoid bar somewhere in the stix, but their performance was most entertaining and I must admit that I was caught completely unawares by this simply great act. The coup d'etat to their 75 minute set was the addition of Ronnie Spector to the encore (many had expected the `Steen hisself), which completely brought down the now-filled house.

Enter an elegantly-attired Robert Palmer and nine piece mini-orchestra. Faced with the unenviable task of following local faves SSJ, the ex-Alan Brown, Vinegar Joe singer was placed in a position where he had to deliver his very best goods before the critic-filled SRO hall. And let's own up now, I love Palmer. He exudes funk. His band is A-1. However, the fixin's he served up were just not hood enough. I mean he was miles behind his Gotham gig last time out at The Line. Robert appeared visibly nervous early on. He opened with his top material: "Pressure Drop", "Man Smart, Woman Smarter", "Get A Grip", and "Sneakin' Sally" -- they were all great. But Palmer's steam began to drop in pressure midway through his set and by this point he had shown his hand, which was all aces. Unfortunately, Palmer could go nowhere from here. He had depleted any reserves and any wild cards up his sleeve. My message to Robert Palmer: get back to basics. Drop the frills and mini-orchestra -- get the point of focus back to your voice. Palmer should never have headlined after local blokes SSJ. For my bread, it is almost always more desirable for a support band to blow the top of the bill off the stage than to be faced with the pressure of your best set ever. A definite tactical error had been committed in this respect. Also, better set planning is essential for an intelligent build to a finale. Man is essentially smart and Robert Palmer, I am certain, is smarter. Next time around, I am convinced that Palmer will be nothing short of fabulous. As a closing note I must berate all three acts in their overly excessive use of ear-splitting volume. None of the three bands need this sort of torture tacts to win an audience. You can't stuff the goods down our throats, no matter how delicious they may taste.


 
 
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